Its not big surprise to say that Red State Blue State is a brilliant show- the kind that only Colin Quinn can deliver. Fifteen minutes into this set, you’re reminded about how much more Colin Quinn cares about content than 99% of the headliners putting out Netflix specials today.
Quinn is willing to go deeper and often darker with his material than most. We’re used to people talking about the failure of the American dream but Quinn brings up the fact that perhaps it’s not a failure of the American Dream that is our problem- but a failure of the American Republic.
We have failed, and its time to call it a day, Quinn says in his latest one man show. We’ve taken everything too far, and turned everything that once seemed idealistic into a gigantic mess. What did we take too far? Everything from capitalism, to premarital sex, and even equality can be taken too far, says CQ. Too old, too fat, too sexualized, too sensitive, too aggressive, too everything. And whatever side you’re on, you’re most likely on it too much. What makes Quinn’s Red State Blue State special is that he has done what nobody else seems able to do in 2019- come at the problem in a non partisan way, finding the flaws on both sides of the political discussion and even questioning the very fact of having only two sides to choose from.
I don’t want to give away too many topics because he hits uncharted waters with concepts you may not have heard discussed on comedy stages before. And yet, they instantly feel familiar because he can distill such complicated ideas into a line or two that encapsulates a thought that could have taken someone else hours to explain. “It’s so simple! Why didn’t I think of that,” may run through your mind. But you didn’t and you couldn’t.
It may be that the biggest flaw in Quinn’s delivery is that he so often ignites your own inner dialogue about the concepts he monologizes. While you’re sitting there listening, and laughing, you’re also wrestling with his premises and before you know it he’s moved on to the next topic while you’re still lagging. You’ll wish you could take notes to get ready for that long conversation you’ll inevitably have after the show at a bar or diner or the Olive Tree Cafe around the corner after the show arguing about the topics that he brings up.
But Colin’s show is not a Ted Talk or a lecture. He’s creating comedy, and it’s really funny, and that’s why Quinn is a master. He will paint a picture of the ridiculousness of the all-red city state where everyone is walking backwards, and you will visualize the blue city-states where you can be arrested for micro-aggressions, and its all hilarious. It’s comedy through and through– but it’s more than a joke for a joke’s sake.
Many great comedians can make you laugh hard- but like enjoying cotton candy you take nothing away from it. Colin goes beyond that, leaving behind a footprint, taking responsibility for his thoughts and jokes. To find his true peers you might have to go backwards in time- to a George Carlin or even a Mark Twain. Comedians who cared about the weight of their comedy.
Which is why so many comedians flocked to Minetta Lane to see his show this week. Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Judd Apatow, Tom Papa, Ryan Hamilton, Todd Barry, Robert Kelly, Jim Norton, Sam Roberts, Bonnie McFarlane, Jim Gaffigan, Jeannie Gaffigan, Chris Distefano, Judy Gold, Sam Morril, Bridget Everett, Gary Gulman, Mike Birbiglia, Rachel Feinstein, Noam and Ava Dworman, Stavros Halkias, Marina Franklin, James Franco, Dante Nero, Joe Machi, Seth Meyers, Matteo Lane, Paul Haggis, Joey Pantoliano, Dolph Ziggler and Tim Dillon were among the comedians and celebs in the crowd.
No pun intended, Colin is the Quintessential New York Comic, and his run at the Minetta Lane Theater is the chance to see him in a quintessential New York setting, set off a cobblestone street in New York City’s West Village for an hour of Quinn’s unique take on the current socio-political status of our vast democratic-republic.
You won’t agree with everything Quinn says but he will have you thinking. And laughing.